My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

Day 4 November 21, 2008

Filed under: Biloxi,Ministry Stuff,Travel — charredsmore @ 5:43 am

Chaplin Ralph hooked me up with some Bibles, and lots of Spanish Bibles this morning before we zipped off to our work site.  I was hoping to give one to the neighbor who played the sax. for us the other day, the teen girl named Star that I just met and the owner of the house we are working on.

Today was a nice work day.  Our goup is constantly switching peeps as people are in and out of the free clinic helping Marcia.  Sharon was with our group today and Sara was out.  We were finishing up on the dry wall mudding, which is always fun – for a moment.  If this was my job I would frinkin’ go crazy!  My arm would have to build some serious muscle in my shoulder area.  It burns!  Anyway, we got a little giddy.  That over tired silliness that comes out when you are with a group of people you just feel so comfortable with – you know the kind.  I love that stuff.  I love to laugh.  It is some of the best medicine – not that I am sick.  If you are sick, I suggest you get a good laugh in, it will do your body some good.

We took off early to head to the beach for a bit and now we are getting ready to head out to dinner.

More to come later.  Tomorrow is our last work day and we will be heading back to Cairo.  I miss Cairo.  I miss my friends there.  It will be good to sleep in my own bedroom again too – compared to this shoe box of a bedroom with 5 other ladies…not that I am complaining, I love community time too.

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Day 3 November 20, 2008

Filed under: Biloxi,Ministry Stuff,Power of Prayer,Travel — charredsmore @ 10:09 am

prayer

I was able to return to the same house, which is great because I was hoping to reconnect with the two custodial staff I prayed with the day before.  The morning started with us praying together as a team.  It felt really good to commit our day to the Lord, asking Him to guide us, protect us, open up opportunities to speak to people in the community.

I recognized last night during our processing time, that I really love to work hard and do physical labor and construction stuff – learning new skill and all.  BUT, I also LOVE to be with people.  To encourage them, to speak words of life to them, to pray with them.  It is more of a challenge when I do not have this kind of daily interaction.  Plus, I am really missing Cairo.  I never thought I would say those words.  Usually I am so happy to get a little bit of a break from that place, that I don’t really miss it at all.  Now, I feel much differently about Cairo.  No longer seen as a mission field, but seen as my home (one of my homes).  Okay, back to Biloxi.  People interaction, yeah, that is what I prayed for this morning.  Also, I prayed for surprises.  God provided in answering each one of the prayers we lifted up together this morning as a team.  It was certainly fun and entertaining to see them unfold.

The neighbor came home home and we began chatting with him a bit.  Found out he works nights, so he was on his way in to sleep before going back to work.  A nice guy, and I was hoping we would have more interaction with him.  Our team has not actually me the home owner of the house we are working on yet, because of his busy work schedule.  I am just dying for people interaction, you hear me?  Anyway, so the neighbor ends up stopping by a couple hours later.  He tells Mike (our team leader) that he has a surprise for us.  We began joking around, “Maybe he is going to do a song and dance.  Maybe he is going to finish the sheet rock.  Maybe he is going to install the toilet for us.”  haha.  The surprise was better than all of those silly things.  He told us that recently he began playing his saxophone again.  He hadn’t played in years (probably since high school).  There is a song that had been rolling around in his mind the last two days and he practiced it yesterday (not even with the sheet music).  He kept trying to get some sleep, but he heard a voice telling him, “Go over and play the song for the goup and don’t worry about messing up the notes.”  I asked if it was the Holy Spirit.  He said yes, but he had never heard this voice before.  Was I thankful for his obedience!  Such a beautiful song flowed from the bell of his saxophone as he moved through the song with such ease and gentleness.  I was taken back by the beauty.  After soaking in the moment, he began to describe the impact that we had on him, coming from Illinois to volunteer and help people we had never met.  He realized that he too has something to give and that he must not be selfish, but give.  Pray for this man, W as he described himself as non-religious.  Heck, I am not religious either (except about brushing my teeth), but I think people have different definitions for the word.  Praise God for His divine placement!  I am praying that W will continue to hear that voice and yield to Him.

 

Day 2

Filed under: Ministry Stuff,MS mission trip,Travel — charredsmore @ 9:53 am

shrimp-dinner                                

 

the-crew    

worship-after-dinner

So, I am a little late in writing this one.  I have to do a

quick catch up because I am so tired.  The days have been packed full. 

Yesterday was day 2 for our Biloxi mission trip.  I ended up working with the other group, taking over for Stacy while she was at the free clinic with Marcia.  As we entered the house, I was so glad it was MUCH smaller than the house I had worked on the first day.  The projects that need to be completed in this house are many, but are all in the living room and bathroom: putting in insulation in the walls and cieling, sheet rock installed in the ceiling, bathroom walls, install the toilet, and shower walls, install the heating element, tile the bathroom floor and install the laminet flooring in the living room.  We were able to get a great start on the house, it felt really good to do some hard work. 

 

The bathroom wasn’t put togteher yet, so we didn’t have a toilet at the house.  Considering I have to pee about every hour, this was a bit of a problem.  So, I took a walk down to the elementary school a block away to see if the administration would allow us to use their facilities, considering we were helping restore their community.  Even though they decided not to let us use their restroom, I was still able to meet some folks that work at the school and after chatting with them a while was able to pray with them.  A couple custodial staff were outside having a smoke across the street when I came out of the school, so we started talking.  I asked if the woman had a need for physical healing in her body.  She said, “Oh, hunny, too many pains in my body.”  She wasn’t specific, but that didn’t matter, the Father knew exactally what she was refering to.  As I started praying, I saw a vision of her getting up in the middle of the night with back pain.  So, I prayed into that vision, asking the Lord to heal her back so she wouldn’t be sitrred with pain in the middle of the night anymore.  Amen.  She gave me this look, as if she was thinking, “How in the WORLD did you know that?!?”  I told her that I didn’t, but the Lord did and His Spirit revealed it to me to pray over her.  I reminded her that if she had recieved Christ, the Spirit was in her too and would do the same as she encouraged others and was abiding (John 15) in Him.  How cool!  Thanks Lord for that divine apointment.  Also, I had prayed that I would get to see the inside of one of the schools down here in Mississippi.  Praise God!

 

The day of work ended with me having a severe case of jello arm, some refer to it as spaghehtti arm.  The technical definition of jello arm – When one exutes tremendous energy and pressure in one arm such as drilling screws into dry wall above one’s head for prolonged periods of time arm becomes limp and tired like jello or a noodle.  Yes, that is from Carney’s dictionary.

 

For dinner, we had some delicious shrimp jumbolia, shrimp scampi (I’m talkin’ about 8-10 count shrimp), hush puppies, and potatos.  Yummy!  The food here is stinkin’ amazing.  You would think I was staying at a bread and breakfast.  I would like to take Joseph and Kathy back home with me to Cairo so they can keep cooking for me.  Pocket people, you know what I’m talking about.  People that are just too cute or too amazing that you want to put them in your pocket and take them home with you.

 

Okay, before I fall over from sleep deprovation, I am signing off for now.  I will post pics with this post later on.

 

Day 1 of Work Projects November 18, 2008

Filed under: Biloxi,Ministry Stuff,MS mission trip,Travel — charredsmore @ 4:13 pm

sara2hc-mixing-it-up1gary-showing-hc-how-to-mix-the-mud1

Hello friends from around the globe.  I thought I would give a little update from the mission field here in Biloxi, MS.  Things are going wonderfully, the weather has been beautiful and sunny during the day with cold chills in the evenings. I hear it is much warmer here than Cairo and Colfax, so no one is complaining. 

 
Yesterday we had our first official day of work projects. Both of our teams (red and blue) went out to the same house, which was great for building a bit more team unity between Team Biloxi and Team Cairo.  The red and blue teams are composed of members of each group to mix it up. Anyway, back to work projects.  We went to this amazing home nestled right on the bay area (check out a map of Biloxi, it is kind of a peninsula), which was actually a place where the Confederate soldiers loaded up their guns and prepared for battle.  Now privately owned by a mother and her son.  The outside of the house isn’t anything special to look at, but once you get in, it is GORGEOUS!  The home owners were not there today, but hopefully we will meet them at some point.

 

The project consisted of mudding dry wall and more mudding!  The walls had just been installed and mudded and so we are doing some finishing work.  Good thing we have all had plenty of practice mudding!  I really like to mud, it has the texture of thick frosting.  I even got to mix the mud with the giant drill bit.  My arm nearly came off the first time – talk about a powerful tool!  I also took some video footage that I will probably link up to my blog, once I figure it out.  We had a sweet time of working together and fellowshipping.  Harlan even lead us out in a few worship songs with that deep baritone voice of his. 

 

We only had a couple hours left and the Chaplin stopped by to see how we were doing, also to pick me up for some community outreach.  He is currently training a young man in the ministry (who recently returned from China with his wife).  What a blessing to shadow them as they traveled to different homes doing one on one emotional/spiritual care.  I love this kind of ministry!  Are you kidding me, this is what we do in Cairo all the time.  The Chaplin said most people have a difficult time understanding what this ministry looks like, how it is measured and what the outcomes are.  The whole person needs to be cared for, not just the physical.  I am thankful for people like Chaplin and Drew who are here to lead people to the Holy Spirit – the Wonderful Counselor. 

 
I was able to meet a few community friends…

E, and older man of about 85 years old who had a beautiful 1920s home near the beach front, who now lives in his guest house.  The home is in complete chaos and the guest house has been fixed up pretty nice.  The house is seriously just sitting there, falling apart, awaiting its next robbery.  People loot out the homes that are awaiting demolition.  This man has lost so much.  He no longer has his wife with him and is just waiting for his home to be demolished.  I don’t know if he is interested in paying the $2,000 it costs to tear it down and hall it away.  Who would be?!?  Some people are still paying a mortgage on their house, which no longer exists.  Borrowed money building interest while they are living in a trailer or tent. 

 

J – Met this man in the trailer park (you know the ones, provided by that fed. org – F_M_).  He is pretty angry and bitter, but who wouldn’t be (without the power of the Holy Spirit to heal your wounds)?  He constantly researches information on the intranet finding out how much money was given by which group, grants, fed, and coorporatley.  He wonders why only certain areas were rebuilt while others remain completely in shambles.  He wonders why people are still living in trailers when there was enough money to go around.  He wonders why his people are still being opressed (African American population).  I let him talk.  Sometimes people just need someone to listen.  I let him deflate and get it all out on the table – well at least a small portion of it.  I think he’s got a lot built up inside.  He says he knows Jesus and follows his ways.  Drew and I were able to pray over him.  I asked the Lord to raise him up in the community as a voice of righteousness, to strip away the bitterness that it would not take root in his life.  I asked the Lord to give him a desire to draw near to truth and resist the enemy.  J, keep on keepin’ on, don’t let the enemy win in your heart.  Also, we prayed for his 25 children, who are spread out across the nation. 

 

Grandma – This woman is a great, great grandmother (that’s right, 2 greats) to two little ones that she is now the guardian over.  A five year old boy and a six year old girl.  I was able to play with the kiddos while the Case Worker and Chaplin were with her in the house talking about where she was going to move after that org. kicked her out of the trailer.  She does have a plan and the Lord is providing for her and her family – thank you Jesus!  The kids were great, we hung out on the porch, soaking in the sun, talking about our favorites and Jesus.  Here are two short videos with the kids.  I will upload these later on, once I get on my own computer.

 

So, that was my day in a nutshell.  Stay tuned for tomorrow as I update you with more stories from Biloxi, MS.

 

Bless you.

**If anyone knows how to upload the pictures to a normal size, please let me know…

 

Biloxi, MS…Beauty from ashes. November 17, 2008

Filed under: Ministry Stuff,Travel — charredsmore @ 5:03 am

 

biloxi-areal-view

Mississippi has a different culture, just the first day here and I can already feel a difference. The trip started with the Colfax crew swinging through Cairo to pick us up. Once we were loaded we headed all the way down to Jackson, MS. We were able to have dinner with Jesse’s friend from college, which was great. Once we arrived in Jackson and got settled into our hotel rooms we headed out for dinner. Guess where this little ol’ missionary group went for dinner…Red Lobster. Yeah, we are really roughing it aren’t we? I had shrimp alfredo, yummy! We got back from dinner at around 10:00 and I was ready to hit the sack. Sara and I fell asleep listening to a message…it was the best sleep I have had in about a month. I felt like I had slept for a month! Aaaahhh, the pillows were amazing, I wanted to bring one with me, but I resisted the temptation.

red-lobster-baby

After packing up our things, we took off for Biloxi. We arrived in no time. The camp is located on a church property, which has the capability of hosting many volunteers each week. Camp Biloxi provides housing, food, and volunteer projects for people who want to help out with rebuilding. I am looking forward to meeting the people we are working with – the homeowners. Last year our team had taken a mission trip down to New Orleans to help with disaster relief – mostly demolition work. After our summer of working rehabbing Hannah’s House, I am equipped with some practical construction skill. Mudding sheet rock, sanding, cutting trim, measuring, installing laminent flooring, painting…yeah, I’ve got some skill. I will update you as the week continues on so you can join us in prayer for this beautiful place called Biloxi. God is restoring this place – beauty from ashes.

 

Revival in their midst April 9, 2008

Filed under: Ministry Stuff,Power of Prayer,testimony,Travel — charredsmore @ 8:54 am

Would you expect to see revival in the midst of a cornfield?  It’s happening in a rural community about five hours north of us, near Colfax, IL.  People are hungry for more, God is moving. 

Our group stuffed the white van full of sound equipment, instruments, and luggage.  We were off for our weekend adventure to connect with our friends.  This small Lutheran church has supported us in all sorts of ways – encouragement, service in Cairo, finances, resources, food…the list goes on.  This group of saints have a “Kingdom” mindset and desire to sow their seed on fertile soil.  A portion of their “harvest money” goes to the spiritual harvest field.  Talk about a biblical model.  Tithing their first fruits (Proverbs 3).  God is blessing their generosity, He keeps giving them more to give.  I am certainly learning much through their example. 

 

We were invited to be guests at a banquet, to share the vision of what the Lord is doing in Cairo, how God has used their investments and how we can continue to partner.  They had a feast for us.  Afterwards we lead a time of worship.  A bit different than their usual, but they were sure open.

 

Talk about a hospitable bunch!  We were each split up into different host families for the night, giving us an opportunity to meet all sorts of people from their church.  I was placed with this sweet older woman from the church.  You never would guess she was over 80 years old.  This church is composed of families.  People who have been a part of this church for generations.  A great spiritual inheritance. 

 

Sunday we joined in their worship.  Kristy gave a message on the Kingdom being near, speaking about the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6.  Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, as it is in heaven, let it be on earth.”  We have this spiritual authority in Christ to ask for things to be manifest on the earth as they are in heaven.  Amen.  After church, they asked us to lead a couple worship songs for their Sunday school time.  This is where things got a bit interesting.  We started with a couple fast paced songs.  I saw some stirring, body movements.  They are not used to clapping in church, so the kids didn’t know if it was okay to move around a bit or clap during the song.  A couple of the TR ladies started dancing with the little ones.  Such joy.  Such purity.  A couple seconds later, some bold adults joined in.  Even a couple men!  That’s right, grown men, doing Jewish circle type dances and shouting, “Praise the LORD!” I was astonished.  Then the pastor joined in.  A couple women went into the kitchen and pushed out the boys that were hiding.  Before the end of the song, many of them were out on the “dance floor” praising the Lord in a new way.  It was pretty remarkable.  I got a little teary watching this all take place (as I was leading worship seeing it unfold)…here I was in a little old church in the middle of a cornfield and revival is breaking out.  Who would have thought?  Where there is hunger, the Lord has NO boundaries.  If you ask Him, He will come. 

 

 

 

Missing Mozambique February 25, 2008

Filed under: Ministry Stuff,Music,Travel — charredsmore @ 11:48 pm

I love this song!